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Article

Richard Staring and René van Swaaningen

Despite the dominant notion that people are now allegedly living in the “era of globalization,” accompanied by rosy stories about a “global village,” borders have never lost their significance. On the contrary, the importance of borders has grown significantly under recent global and European crises. Not only have the number of borders increased, but borders also have become fluid as they moved outside national territories in order to protect countries, as well as political and economic unions, against the perceived threats of transnational organized crime, pandemics, unwanted migration, and terrorism. This externalization of borders through (financial) support and bilateral agreements with other countries led to a relocation of borders far beyond the geographical borders of nation states. In addition, borders have been renewed, reinforced, (temporarily) reactivated, and transformed. Specific attention is paid to some developments surrounding borders, including a responsibilization process on border control, in which governments increasingly stimulate or enforce private parties to take up responsibility in controlling their companies, and ultimately their borders, with respect to irregular migration and crime. Borders are also embodied in different kinds of measures and policies of nation-states that guard access of welfare state provisions, and through the merging of criminal law and immigration law (i.e., crimmigration). Finally, the “border industry” means business for construction, infrastructure, biometrics, and identity technology companies, as well as for security forces, research institutes, aid organizations, and human smugglers. The commodification of borders is an ongoing process as envisioned not only in popular culture as music, literature, reality TV and movies, but also in borders that have become important touristic attractions. The framing of borders through this commodification process as inevitable and as a necessity in turn expresses and legitimates current state agendas.

Article

The use of detention for immigration purposes is a carceral trend that continues to increase across the world and is a phenomenon no longer limited to so-called western countries or the global north. Linked to the criminalization of mass migration under conditions of globalization, immigration detention can be understood as both a policy and a practice that is directed towards the control of unwanted human mobility. The extension of tactics traditionally used in the penal system to the realm of immigration control raises important questions about the purpose, justification, and legitimacy of immigration detention. Broadly defined as the confinement of non-citizens under administrative powers rather than criminal law to achieve immigration-related aims, immigration detention is one amongst an array of border control strategies aimed at the identification of migrants, the prevention of absconding, and the facilitation of their removal. Only recently has this form of confinement become the focus of criminological inquiry. Researchers have found that immigration detention has a profound impact on those who are detained, particularly on mental and physical health as well as on more complex issues of identity, belonging, human rights, and legitimacy. Empirical research has indicated that although the detention of migrants is not punishment, it is often experienced as such, with the prison emerging as a point of comparison through which to make sense of this practice. That the “usual suspects”―poor men and women of color―are the primary populations detained raises important questions about the use of immigration detention in the service of punitive and restrictive migration control strategies that further global inequality along the familiar lines of gender, race, and socioeconomic status.

Article

David C. Brotherton and Sarah Tosh

While deportation as a practice has roots that reach far back into history, the state’s removal of immigrants in the modern era is unprecedented, in terms of both its mechanisms and its breadth. Over the past few decades, the United States in particular has developed systems of immigrant enforcement, detention, and deportation that serve to restrain and remove hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year. In the late 20th century, along with a punitive turn in criminal justice and drug policy, came an era of punitive immigration legislation in the United States, culminating in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996. Among other laws, IIRIRA laid the groundwork for astronomical rates of deportation in the early 21st century—rates the current administration vows to exceed in coming years. The increasingly criminalized immigration policy of the United States has been paralleled in many ways in immigrant-receiving countries around the world, resulting in a “global deportation regime” that transcends national borders. Theories that frame deportation as a necessary product and constitutive practice of social membership in our modern system of sovereign nation states are supplemented by those that view it as a tool used by neoliberal governments to control a vulnerable surplus population of immigrant workers. Another theoretical thread on deportation focuses on the culture of vindictiveness in late modernity, and the social bulimia of contemporary societies that simultaneously integrate and exclude the immigrant Other. Theories of subcultural resistance are also relevant for attempts to understand individual agency and collective mobilization, both of immigrants against deportation, as well as deportees against stigmatization. Post-deportation studies focus on the deportee experience, with a focus on social displacement/exclusion and stigmatization.